Ski Mont Blanc 3 day adventure
Day 1: Ski Touring from the Aiguille du Midi
Early morning start to take the first lift to the Aiguille du Midi cable car, 3,842m. After a look around this impressive lift station, we will encounter the exposed arête leading down to the point where we can put our skis on. We will partly ski down one of the Vallée Blanche routes and stop to put our skins on just past the Requin refuge. From here we ski tour up the Glacier des Periades. This remote glacier provides magnificent views of the whole of the Vallée Blanche area and a very rewarding ski down to the Montenvers station where we get the train back down to Chamonix. This day is for equipment check, go over some easy ski mountaineering techniques, and evaluate for proper ski level.
Day 2. First day of the Mont Blanc ascent
Now that our training is over, we are ready for the ascent of Mont Blanc. The group will be joined by more guides (ratio 2 clients to 1 guide), in order to give us the best chance of success.
The route we choose will depend on the prevailing conditions, the group’s ability and ultimately on the guides’ decision. There are two alternatives for the ascent: either the traditional ski touring route, via les Grands Mulets refuge or the “Traverse Route” via the Cosmiques refuge which is a more technical ascent but often considered safer and therefore in preference.
For the route via Grands Mulets, we will set off from the mid-station of the Aiguille du Midi cable car (2,310m). From there we are touring across the heavily crevassed and very spectacular Glacier des Bossons, up to the refuge located on a small rock island in the middle of this huge glacier at 3,051m.
For the “Traverse Route” (sometimes referred to as the Trois Mont Blancs route) we start out by way of the cable-car to the Aiguille du Midi (3,842m). Then, skiing down to the Col du Midi, we have a short ascent to reach our overnight accommodation at the Cosmiques refuge (3,613m).
Day 3. Summit day and ski descent to Chamonix
The Big Day! Whichever route has been chosen, we can expect an early start. Approximately 2 a.m. from the Grands Mulets refuge, or 3 a.m. from the Cosmiques refuge.
On the Traditional Route we have approximately eight hours to the summit. Most of this we can ski tour until we get to the Vallot refuge (4,362m,). There we have to leave our skis to crampon the last section up a fairly exposed ridge to the summit. We are high up and the air is thin, so slow and steady is the way.
On the “Traverse Route”, starting out from the Cosmiques refuge, the first obstacle is Mont Blanc du Tacul. This glaciated mountain averages 30 to 35 degrees inclination. Most of the time we crampon up all of this. After crossing the shoulder of Tacul we descend a little. The second mountain we have to get over is Mont Maudit which has even steeper sections, up to 40 or even 50 degrees. Again, we will crampon up most of this. After this we have a fairly steady climb to the summit by foot or skis depending on the snow conditions. Six to seven hours total of ascent.
For either route option, we should be on Mont Blanc’s summit (4,807m) just after sunrise, in position to enjoy some of the most spectacular views in the whole of Europe. We will then descend either by foot to the Vallot refuge or ski the fairly steep and challenging North Face. Either way we will come back down past the Grands Mulets refuge and traverse back to the Plan de l’Aiguille and take the lift down to Chamonix.